Kenduskeag Stream Canoe Race

Paddle Smart Symposium 2010

Sticker courtesy of Castine Kayak. Yes, you too can buy one of these badass stickers for your own car or boat! Simply go to the event.


The 2010 Paddle Smart Symposium is something I look forward to every spring. Workshops, water demos, door prizes....it's all good, and it's all about staying smart and safe on the water.

But wait...there's more! You can also pick up some very useful tips & techniques. Or learn about favorite paddling trips and trip planning. Learn how to put together a "plan of action" in case of an emergency. Or maybe you're new to paddling and you don't know where to begin when it comes to buying a boat, a paddle, or a life jacket. There will be on-the-water equipment demos and gear discussions to help you out with all of that.

Donate $5 at the door to support the event and you'll be entered into a drawing for a brand new sea kayak! Sweet.

And for anyone interested in doing the Kenduskeag, the good folks at MaCKRO (Maine Canoe & Kayak Racing Organization) will be hosting yet another "Kenduskeag Prep" session at Paddle Smart. This will be the third year they have put this popular session together; check it out.

(And be sure to check out the Kenduskeag tips section on my website. That can be found right about....here.)

Choosing which session to attend can be tough! This year, I think I'll attend the "river reading" session presented by the Penobscot Paddle & Chowder Society in addition to a "what to do if you capsize" demo which is held at the swimming pool.

If you live within driving distance and you're into paddling, you really owe it to yourself to spend some time at this annual event. Veteran paddlers return year after year and there are many good reasons for that. It's informative AND fun.

When & Where:
Friday, April 9th, 2010
5pm-9:30pm
Husson University (Newman Gym)

Check out Castine Kayak's downloadable, printable schedule of events at Paddle Smart 2010.




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Are You Experienced?
















Tough sledding on the St. George - 2009

Certain traditions in March allow me to mentally check out of winter.
I can pinch someone on St. Patricks Day if they neglect to wear green and my chances of being slapped are at least 50% lower than if I tried to do this on any other day. Girl Scout cookies are on sale, certain types of which should be classified as habit-forming drugs. We set our clocks ahead one hour but the net effect is at least five times that, and many of us are grumpier than post-hibernation bears on Monday morning.

And John Holyoke interviews Dale Cross for the Bangor Daily News.
As far as I'm concerned, spring is officially here.


Dale Cross, the director of the season-opening St. George River Race on March 27th (as well as the Passy River Race which takes place the following week), offers sage advice for newcomers to paddling:

“...I think it’s wise for folks that are just getting started … that they go with other folks that may understand the sport a little better,” Cross said. “It keeps everybody safe. It’s important to back up two steps and make sure they’ve got the proper equipment...I think that what any paddler needs to do is just get in the boat...flat water, anywhere they can get in where it’s safe, to get their sea legs.. get some things straightened out with a partner, on flat water, before they get into the whitewater stuff."

Read John Holyoke's full article here from the Bangor Daily News. Cross briefly outlines each of the upcoming races. Highly recommended reading as we approach the Maine whitewater season.

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Paddle Smart 2009 Safety Symposium















Learn how to stay safe on the water and win a sea kayak!

Karen at Castine Kayak Adventures informed me that the 2009 Paddle Smart Symposium will be held on April 10 at Husson University in Bangor, from 5pm to 9:30pm.

2009 Paddle Smart Event Schedule (PDF file)

Workshops, pool demos, interactive displays (and door prizes!) will round out this fun and instructive annual event. I've already picked up five sea kayak raffle tickets at Epic Sports!

Jeff Owen, President of MaCKRO, will present his "Preparing for the Kenduskeag" workshop which was very well received last year.

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8th Annual Paddle Smart Canoe & Kayak Symposium - 4/12/08


The 2008 Paddle Smart Symposium will take place on Saturday, April 12th from 5-9:30pm at the Bangor YMCA.

Paddle Smart is all about safety on the water. There will be many Q&A sessions with guest speakers as well as watercraft safety demos in the pool.

SPECIAL NOTE FOR KENDUSKEAG PADDLERS:
Paddle Smart 2008 will include special discussions and demos to better prepare you for the Kenduskeag!

If you plan to do the Kenduskeag this year and you're a newbie (heck, even if you're not) there will be "presentations on equipping your canoe for the race, race strategy (for those more serious about getting down river in a hurry) and skills presentations on how to get out of the river in the event of a capsize", according to Jeff Strout of the Bangor Daily News.

As if that isn't enough of an incentive to attend Paddle Smart, consider that a $5 donation at the door will get you TWO tickets for a sea kayak drawing (at 9pm). Donations are optional, and there are many free door prizes as well.

Also, anyone interested in becoming a member of the Maine Canoe and Kayak Racing Organization (MaCKRO) will be able to do so at a special introductory rate of just $5.

For more information about Paddle Smart 2008, visit the Paddle Smart web page hosted by Castine Kayak. And there is this article by Jeff Strout in the Bangor Daily News.

One last note: this year, Paddle Smart will be held at the YMCA on Second Street in Bangor, and not at the Hammond Street location as in previous years.

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Whitewater Survival Tips

I took note of this excellent post on the message board of MaCKRO (Maine Canoe & Kayak Racing Association) and felt that it should be shared by as many paddlers as possible before the upcoming race.

The following is from veteran paddler Clayton Cole, who has lived by the Kenduskeag for 20 years:

"The high flow makes for lots of eddys, holes, wave trains and turbulence, but most difficult spots can be avoided . I would like to share some tips: If possible run the whitewater Friday. Scout the tricky spots Saturday morning. Be prepared to swamp or swim (wear proper clothing). Use at least 4 feet of floatation in any boat, have 6" grab loops or 6' lines with no knots. Have one bailer for each paddler. Keep your boat dry - bail or pull over and dump. Better yet, avoid the middle and skirt around all the big stuff. You must paddle with determination in big whitewater. Don't stare at the hole or wave train or it will suck you in. Commit early to a route, look where you want to go and paddle as hard as you can. Keep your paddle in the water including the recovery when it gets rough and especially if you are carrying water. Don't stop paddling in the big stuff - you will turn sideways and then it gets, well use your imagination. This is going to be a good one!"

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7th Annual Paddle Smart Symposium - 4/13/07









The 7th Annual Paddle Smart Symposium will be held on April 13 at the Bangor YMCA on Hammond Street from 5:00-9:30pm.

Admission is free, although donations are accepted and tickets will be sold for a sea kayak raffle. (The drawing will be held at 9:30). There are also free door prizes.

The symposium is chock full of interactive workshops and displays promoting education and safety on the water. An informed paddler is a safer paddler!

For more information and a schedule, visit the Paddle Smart website.

UPDATE 4/15/07: I attended Paddle Smart for the first time on Friday, and it was cool! I could sense a "buzz" throughout the venue; people are getting psyched about the upcoming paddling season. Make plans to attend next year if you've never been. It's an annual event worth supporting.

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